A Partner in Pain

It began last summer with laughter, really. Jeff said, “I keep getting these headaches whenever I bend over or lift anything heavy–guess I’m getting old.” But before long, neither of us was laughing. The headaches increased from just exertion-related to constant. By Christmastime, he had to retreat the bedroom by eight in the evening, in terrible pain. He couldn’t run or lift or chase the grandchildren.

Our local doctor said, “Let’s try an MRI,” and it showed the kind of news we didn’t want to hear: a spot on his skull (not, fortunately, on the brain itself). We were transferred to a neurosurgeon and the words ‘tumor’ and ‘surgery’ began to be used. More tests were required, and all showed the spot clearly. But questions remained unanswered. Was it cancer? Would the surgery relieve the headaches? What did the future look like?

ImageOn Apr. 2nd, the spot/lesion/tumor was removed. The lab report seemed to take forever to be returned. The good news? No cancer (thank you, Lord)! However, the headaches were still in place and still increasing in severity. Nausea was a constant, disabling presence.

The neurosurgeon felt out of his depth in the diagnosis of the problem–and admitted it, which we appreciated. He sent us to a neurologist in Phoenix earlier this week. The neurologist listened patiently to the recital of Jeff’s history, and at the end said, “There’s no doubt in my mind about what you have: an acute, hereditary form of migraine.” We looked at him with–I hope–polite skepticism, and he said, “I know you think I’m wrong, and you probably won’t believe it until I cure you–but I will cure you.”

He prescribed a migraine preventative medication and we felt hopeful. Could it be as simple as that? No, apparently not. It gave Jeff horrible hallucinations and panic attacks–and he still had headaches. But the doctor had another, milder medication in reserve and tried it instead. This is Jeff’s third day on it. He has no headache, no panic, no hallucinations. He can sneeze, laugh, or bend over without agony for the first time in months. Is this it? Is normal within range once again? We are encouraged to believe it. Certainly he looks normal and is working comfortably.

For all this time, since the surgery was scheduled, my time and my state of mind have been linked to each day’s progress or lack of it. When nothing felt certain, I couldn’t bear to blog. As the saying goes, an elephant lived in the center of our lives and with no certainty, I couldn’t either ignore it or write about it. Today I want to share good news with you instead of ongoing crisis. Things appear to be improving, and that means I can get back to observing the rich and wonderful life of our small town! Look for more blogs soon!


6 responses to this post.

  1. Praise the Lord for no headaches!!!


  2. Posted by Diana on May 3, 2013 at 12:27 pm

    I’m so very, very thrilled to read this report, Mary. I can only imagine the scare you both have had, not having been ill much in the past. You remain in our prayers for ongoing improvement and eventual total healing of these headaches. I sympathize completely with Jeff. It’s great that you could share the good news. We want to be here for better or worse, so if you ever need someone to drive you to Phoenix or “hang out,” please pop by our home. You are so welcome. {{{huggles}}}


  3. Posted by Karen Hager Ombrello on May 4, 2013 at 5:49 am

    Oh, Praise the Lord!! We are so thankful for this update of solutions and relief of pain for you, Jeff, and also for you, Mary, since the suffering is shared like everything else.
    If only we could be with you — We hope you feel our love & concern with you and send virtual big hugs to you both…… We are hopeful also.
    Hallelujah! Love, Karen & Jim


  4. Posted by Wes on May 5, 2013 at 6:36 pm

    Pastor Jeff…we love you!!!
    Please for once in your life let Mary take care of you, spoil you and give you lots of attention. Wait! She has already done that. :0)
    Mary, thank you for your words in this blog and sharing your life on your roller coaster of Faith!

    You guys ROCK! Remember that is a verb, not a noun.

    Love you, Wes & Linda


  5. We’re more than a week out now, and Jeff seems quite normal once again. It feels like a miniature resurrection–we’re so thankful that we hardly know how to express it.


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